Random links

(Mis)imagining the good life and the bad life: Envy and pity as a function of the focusing illusion
"“focusing illusion” suggests these impressions of others are incomplete: we may overweight extreme features (the exceptionally good circumstances of envied others and exceptionally bad circumstances of pitied others) at the cost of overlooking the smaller ups and downs of daily life, which inevitably dilute the other person's overall experience. If so, envy and pity could involve misperceiving that envied others have lives that are uniformly wonderful (overlooking that they still face smaller annoyances) and pitied others have lives that are uniformly awful (overlooking that they still enjoy smaller pleasures)."
The Case for Letting Fevers Run Their Course
"Numerous studies over the past few years have shown that taking fever reducers hurts your body’s ability to recover from an illness."
Policies believed to stabilize the financial system may actually do the opposite, study finds
"The problem arises because these policies typically focus on the stability of individual banks—but due to the complex nature of networks, what's good for individual banks may not be good for the banking system as a whole."

Accidental Courtesy: Daryl Davis, Race & America

Trailer for the documentary I watched last night:

The film is focused around an African-American musician's attempts to build relationships with KKK members and thereby persuade them to leave the organisation. It seems to me a sort of thing that's probably necessary to do and yet one of those things that can easily drive you crazy if you attempt it.

Random links

Some Unintended Fallout from Defense Policy: Measuring the Effect of Atmospheric Nuclear Testing on American Mortality Patterns
"I find that fallout from nuclear testing led to persistent and substantial increases in overall mortality for large portions of the country. The cumulative number of excess deaths attributable to these tests is comparable to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki."
The Geography of Poverty and Nutrition: Food Deserts and Food Choices Across the United States
"we find that exposing low-income households to the same food availability and prices experienced by high-income households would reduce nutritional inequality by only 9%, while the remaining 91% is driven by differences in demand. In turn, these income-related demand differences are partially explained by education, nutrition knowledge, and regional preferences. These findings contrast with discussions of nutritional inequality that emphasize supply-side issues such as food deserts." Interesting Twitter commentary on this including reference to this paper on impact of fast food restaurants.
'Any taboo has gone': Netherlands sees rise in demand for euthanasia
"The number of people euthanised in the Netherlands this year is set to exceed 7,000 – a 67% rise from five years ago – in what has been described by the director of the country’s only specialist clinic as the end of “a taboo” on killing patients who want to die."

Education and the sex of those around you

Two recent papers:

Persistent Effects of Teacher-Student Gender Matches:

We exploit data from middle schools in Seoul, South Korea, where students and teachers are randomly assigned to classrooms, and find that female students taught by a female versus a male teacher score higher on standardized tests compared to male students even five years later. We also find that having a female math teacher in 7th grade increases the likelihood that female students take higher-level math courses, aspire to a STEM degree, and attend a STEM-focused high school. These effects are driven by changes in students' attitudes and choices.

The Effect of Peer Gender on Major Choice :

This paper investigates how the peer gender composition in university affects students' major choices and labor market outcomes. Women who are randomly assigned to more female peers become less likely to choose male-dominated majors, they end up in jobs where they work fewer hours and their wage grows at a slower rate. Men become more likely to choose male-dominated majors after having had more female peers, although their labor market outcomes are not affected. Our results suggest that the increasing female university enrollment over recent decades has paradoxically contributed to the occupational segregation among university graduates that persists in today’s labor market.


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